School groups throughout Ohio and around the nation have praised the recently signed Ohio state budget that expands education choice opportunities for parents and students. ADVANCE FOR SATURDAY, JULY 12 – Wind turbines turn in the breeze on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, at a Virginia Beach Public School bus yard in Virginia Beach, Va. Budgets are tight, so school divisions around the nation are looking for ways to cut costs. In 2005, the U.S. Energy Department launched the Wind for Schools project to help those interested in tapping into that power source. By last year, more than 130 systems had been installed at schools in 11 states, including more than a dozen across Virginia and North Carolina. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Vicki Cronis-Nohe) Nicki Cronis-Nohe
State, national groups applaud Ohio school-choice expansion
J.D. Davidson, The Center Square July 02, 02:00 PM July 02, 02:00 PM
School groups throughout Ohio and around the nation have praised the recently signed Ohio state budget that expands education choice opportunities for parents and students.
The budget, signed late Wednesday night by Gov. Mike DeWine, increased the state’s voucher system, created a new tax-credit scholarship program and established the state’s first education savings accounts.
“Governor Mike DeWine has signed a budget that expands existing school choice options and creates Ohio’s first-ever education savings account program helping parents afford desperately-needed resources and giving them the flexibility necessary to improve their children’s educational outcomes,” said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy. “These bold reforms are some of the most significant that Ohio’s families have seen in a decade.”
EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, also praised DeWine and the state, saying Ohio’s move toward more educational options follows a trend being seen around the nation.
“This is a huge win for Ohio families, continuing a national trend we’ve seen all year,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of EdChoice. “So many more families than ever before are realizing that they want something different for their children when it comes to K-12 education. These programs make those options accessible.”
The budget, which also included a 3% across-the-board state income state reduction and an overhaul of public education funding, removed a cap on the number of eligible students who can participate in the voucher program and funds all scholarships.
It also increased scholarship sizes for EdChoice and Cleveland Scholarships to $5,500 per pupil in K-8 and $7,500 in high school, and it removed a public school requirement for EdChoice scholarships.
The new tax-credit scholarship program goes to all Ohio students but low-income families are prioritized. Donors receive a 100% tax credit up to $750 per person.
The budget also created a new personal-use tax credit of $250 for families to use for homeschool expenses and a $500-$1,000 tax credit to families of children enrolled in certain nonchartered private schools.
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